There was a time when physician referrals and word-of-mouth provided most of the guidance people received when trying to decide where to seek drug and alcohol rehab help.
Sadly, that is no longer the case.
Increasingly, patients who are often in one of the most vulnerable moments of their lives, are being besieged by “pay-for-patient” marketers seeking to sign them up for treatment. These marketers are hired guns that many times set up shop as “referral agencies” and are paid a fee for each drug and/or alcohol addict they send to treatment centers.
According to new findings from a Grand Jury in Florida, these marketers are guilty of:
· Using internet advertising to disseminate false information about the location of treatment centers and the services provided – routing prospects to call-centers in different parts of the country.
· Using manipulative internet tactics to piggyback on the names of more famous addiction treatment centers only to then reroute any prospects to their own treatment centers.
Additionally, the Grand Jury found that some internet ads route prospects to several different treatment programs – with each treatment center paying the marketing group for any calls received.
Perhaps worst of all, they also found that in many cases, addicts faced high-pressure sales tactics designed to get them to buy treatment services that were at times more expensive and more extensive than necessary.
The Grand Jury report concludes with the recommendation that states certify addiction treatment marketers, force them to provide appropriate disclaimers and criminalize deceptive marketing practices and providers.
Drug and/or alcohol addicts in Connecticut and New Hampshire have already suffered from overly aggressive medical prescribers and their enablers – the big drug companies. And they are paying a heavy price.
People suffering from addiction and their families have a right to know that the treatment centers available to them in this region and around the country are what they say they are and provide the services necessary to save lives.